LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - Every year in the news business, there are certain people who emerge as headline-makers - some for positive reasons, while others are considered controversial. We often times consider those individuals to be very intriguing. Our first Most Intriguing Arkansan made the list for a very good reason and he's only 17 years old: Leonard Cooper.
He wasn't the first Arkansan to be on Jeopardy and he likely won't be the last. But he just might be the most well-known all because of his witty response during Final Jeopardy.
Leonard Cooper did not get the answer correct but he did walk away with $75,000.
And video of his winning answer has now been viewed more than 6 million times.
"I didn't expect it," said Leonard. "I was just trying to be funny."
His mom, Judy certainly didn't expect all the worldwide attention either.
"I open my Yahoo! to check my email and Leonard's there. And as a mom, I'm like this is kinda creepy," Judy Cooper said with a smile.
So what is it about this Little Rock kid with the unique hair and big brains? Even his mom and biggest fan, can't quite put her finger on it.
"They, for some reason, felt a connection to him," said Judy. "Can't explain why. But many people seem to have a connection to him."
This Internet sensation started out as a quiet kid.
"I was kind of a little more isolated as a kid. I was the kid who sat in the back of the class reading," Leonard said about himself.
But now, Leonard is much more social. And enjoys the same things most teenagers enjoy... hanging out with his friends, going to a movie, but most of all his music.
"I didn't start listening to music until I was about 11 or 12, I didn't really listen to songs I just heard what my brother heard. But when I started listening to my own music, I really got into older kind of rock songs. That was really made me want to listen more and start playing," said Leonard.
This self-taught guitarist will be attending Brown University in the fall with hopes of one day becoming a doctor. A dream that like his dream to get on Jeopardy, will no doubt one day come true.
"There's so many people, Arkansans and non-Arkansans just people we met in general that said they felt like Leonard's a good role model. He makes it cool to be smart and makes it okay to know things and let people know that you know things," said Judy.
"I'm grateful," said Leonard. "I'm glad to know that people appreciate me, I guess. It's really nice. Unexpected."
Leonard says he pretty much has a full ride for college so he plans to spend his winnings on a car and music equipment.
Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:35 AM EDT2014-07-29 14:35:49 GMT
Nine 5:00 a.m. clubs, one city, two city directors on a mission to see what they’re all about. Little Rock’s board of directors has been mulling over closing bars with permits to operate until 5:00 a.m. at 2:00 a.m. citywide.More >>
Nine 5:00 a.m. clubs, one city, two city directors on a mission to see what they’re all about. Little Rock’s board of directors has been mulling over closing bars with permits to operate until 5:00 a.m. at 2:00 a.m. citywide. More >>